And now let me turn the floor over to Stanislav Sedov, who will share some of his impressions about the trip.
We would like to tell you a short story about our trip to Mexico while the memories are still fresh in our minds. Maybe some of you'll learn something useful.
As soon as we'd finished shooting Tikal in Guatemala, Dima and I decided to go to Mexico.
We started off our journey on the wrong foot. The bus that was supposed to take us to Chetumal in Mexico arrived two hours later at 8am. And it seemed that Dima's perfect trip plan started falling apart.
It all went downhill from there. In order to reach Chetumal from Guatemala you have to pass a small country — Belize. There is nothing special about it, just another former British colony. Probably because of this reason it's one of the few countries in Central America where Russians need to get visa to cross the border. And only British Embassy grants this visa in Moscow.
Dima found some travel website that stated that if you have a U.S. visa, then there'll be no problem getting Belize visa on the border in 20 minutes.
A couple of hours later we reached the border. There were no incidents when we left Guatemala. We filled out necessary forms and handed them over to Belize border guards. After that we sat waiting under the shed with a proud name "Immigration point". Of all the people on the bus the only one getting visa, beside us, was a Korean girl. All other white people crossed the border without any problems.
An hour and a half (!) later an officer came out and said that everything was alright, and that we would get our visas in 5 minutes, as soon as they get a response from the capital.
40 minutes later the Korean girl got her visa. We were told to wait because they couldn't get through to the office, because of holidays and other unknown reasons.
Half an hour later our bus driver came up to us and said that he couldn't wait for us any longer. We couldn't blame him, because temperature outside was about 40 degrees Celsius, and passengers were almost ready to kill both him and us. So the bus left and we continued waiting while haveing fun in a warm and friendly environment. We saw the border guard running past us and telling us that they were able to get through to the office, and that our visas would be ready in 5 minutes, etc. Yeah, right.
Then one and half hour later (by that time we spent 4.5 hours on the border) we were approached by a man, who introduced himself as a police officer and took Dima with him to talk about why the hell we decided to go to Belize in the first place.
Dima was gone for 5 minutes and then came back with a pale face: he said there was a problem. He took our Mexico shooting permit, and disappeared for 40 minutes. I was about to call the Embassy (my wife texted me the phone number), but then I saw Dima approaching me with a nervous smile on his face. He said they mistook us for drug traffickers: we had too many stamps in our passports, we traveled a lot, and looked very suspicious. It turned out that it was police, not the border guards, that were running background check on us. And it took so much time, because they were waiting for resoponse from Interpol.
By the way, the police officer finally believed in our story only when I showed him the picture on my phone, the one that Dima took of me and our helicopter in front of the Tikal pyramid.
Only then he apologized and said that he thought we were Russian mafia.
After that we got our visas in 20 minutes. When we reached customs (the next cordon after the border guards) and told customs officers how we waited for our visas for 5 hours, and that our bus left us behind, they gave us a sympathetic look and said, "Go ahead, we're not going to check your bags." And we finally entered Belize.
After that it was easier: we took a taxi. It took us 4 hours and costed $250 to drive through the country from one border to another. The second border was way more simple than the first one. The only problem was that we had to walk from Belize post to Mexico (and it was quite a distance), but we were lucky enough to be picked up by the bus headed in the same direction.
On a personal note, we would also like to say a few words about local hospitality. Out trip to Mexico wouldn't happen without help of Ricardo Gomez Garrido, a pilot and a photographer from Mexico City, and his friend Diego Ruelas Tiscareno from www.fotoaereamexico.com team. First of all, Ricardo helped us with obtaining photo permits for all Mexican historical monuments and pyramids. As we learned down the road, there would be no photo shoots without those permits. And secondly, the friends arranged a warm welcome for us in the capital, helped us with the transportation, and found us a helicopter for our photo shoots. Checking in to the downtown hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to see aerial photographs of Mexico City taken by Ricardo and Diego exhibited in the hotel lobby.